Hearing God’s Voice from His Word
James 4:8 says, “Come near to God and he will come near to you.”
Take a moment and turn your attention to God. Tell God that you desire to trust and obey Him. Ask God to speak to you from His word.
Psalm of the Day
Psalm 137:7-9 Remember, O Lord, against the Edomites the day of Jerusalem,
how they said, “Lay it bare, lay it bare, down to its foundations!”
8 O daughter of Babylon, doomed to be destroyed, blessed shall he be who repays you
with what you have done to us!
9 Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!
Read the Entire Psalm
How could this Psalm be in the bible? Blessed is the person who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock! Remember this is verse is not condoning this cruel behavior, but one of the things it does demonstrate is that we can be completely open and honest with God. It is okay to come with refined and carefully chosen words when we come to God. It is also okay to come in raw unpolished expression. Israel experienced trauma as a result of their disobedience. In our trauma and suffering we can come honestly with raw and unpolished words to God. Pour out your heart to Him and find help and healing.
2 Peter 2 – The Message
2 1-2 But there were also lying prophets among the people then, just as there will be lying religious teachers among you. They’ll smuggle in destructive divisions, pitting you against each other—biting the hand of the One who gave them a chance to have their lives back! They’ve put themselves on a fast downhill slide to destruction, but not before they recruit a crowd of mixed-up followers who can’t tell right from wrong.
2-3 They give the way of truth a bad name. They’re only out for themselves. They’ll say anything, anything, that sounds good to exploit you. They won’t, of course, get by with it. They’ll come to a bad end, for God has never just stood by and let that kind of thing go on.
4-5 God didn’t let the rebel angels off the hook, but jailed them in hell till Judgment Day. Neither did he let the ancient ungodly world off. He wiped it out with a flood, rescuing only eight people—Noah, the sole voice of righteousness, was one of them.
6-8 God decreed destruction for the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. A mound of ashes was all that was left—grim warning to anyone bent on an ungodly life. But that good man Lot, driven nearly out of his mind by the sexual filth and perversity, was rescued. Surrounded by moral rot day after day after day, that righteous man was in constant torment.
9 So God knows how to rescue the godly from evil trials. And he knows how to hold the feet of the wicked to the fire until Judgment Day.
10-11 God is especially incensed against these “teachers” who live by lust, addicted to a filthy existence. They despise interference from true authority, preferring to indulge in self-rule. Insolent egotists, they don’t hesitate to speak evil against the most splendid of creatures. Even angels, their superiors in every way, wouldn’t think of throwing their weight around like that, trying to slander others before God.
12-14 These people are nothing but brute beasts, born in the wild, predators on the prowl. In the very act of bringing down others with their ignorant blasphemies, they themselves will be brought down, losers in the end. Their evil will boomerang on them. They’re so despicable and addicted to pleasure that they indulge in wild parties, carousing in broad daylight. They’re obsessed with adultery, compulsive in sin, seducing every vulnerable soul they come upon. Their specialty is greed, and they’re experts at it. Dead souls!
15-16 They’ve left the main road and are directionless, having taken the way of Balaam, son of Beor, the prophet who turned profiteer, a connoisseur of evil. But Balaam was stopped in his wayward tracks: A dumb animal spoke in a human voice and prevented the prophet’s craziness.
17-19 There’s nothing to these people—they’re dried-up fountains, storm-scattered clouds, headed for a black hole in hell. They are loudmouths, full of hot air, but still they’re dangerous. Men and women who have recently escaped from a deviant life are most susceptible to their brand of seduction. They promise these newcomers freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption, for if they’re addicted to corruption—and they are—they’re enslaved.
20-22 If they’ve escaped from the slum of sin by experiencing our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ, and then slid back into that same old life again, they’re worse than if they had never left. Better not to have started out on the straight road to God than to start out and then turn back, repudiating the experience and the holy command. They prove the point of the proverbs, “A dog goes back to its own vomit” and “A scrubbed-up pig heads for the mud.”
Having God’s Ear through Prayer
- Express thanksgiving to God.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal sin to you.
- Confess your sin to Him and receive forgiveness.
(1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sin He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins.”)
- Bring your personal requests to God.
(Psalm 62:8 “Pour out your heart before God”)
- Pray for someone in your small group.
- Join with others from River and pray for Christian Challenge as they reach out to new students at Wichita State. Pray for students to connect with Challenge, turn to Christ, and grow in the faith.
Living as God’s People by applying the Bible
Scripture Reflection from the Sermon
When an animal acts on instinct, what happens? It could be the instinct of a certain breed of dog to show you “affection.” It could be the instinct of a tiger to attack you. Instincts are not choices; they are more like automated responses. Automated by God who has made creatures to act in certain ways. Animals do not suffer final judgment. No one thinks that a shark can commit murder. Or that a cat should be incarcerated for stealing food or destroying your furniture. We know that animals have instincts and humans make choices. Once again, we don’t need a class on this, we intuit it. God has built it into us. What happens when humans act like mere creatures of instinct? It is a terrible thing, for that person and the ones around them. It is also true that they, unlike a mere animal, will suffer judgment. Humans are responsible in ways that animals are not. When humans, who bear the image of God, act like mere animals they are acting in “cursed” ways. The curse of sin is that the image of God has been marred in humanity. The blessing of the gospel is that the curse is now reversed. We can become more like Christ and less like beasts ruled by instinct. When you read or hear of people seeking “self-expression,” don’t be deceived. Often what this means is that they want to be ruled by feelings and passions. Christ is reshaping us into the image of God with ever increasing glory. Self-control is the path to that kind of freedom. Self-control is not merely an act of the will; it is a fruit of the Spirit. Don’t seek self-expression, seek the Spirit-controlled life.